Advocates reaching out to hard-to-count communities to ensure census participation

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Thursday, September 10, 2020
Advocates reaching out to hard-to-count communities to ensure census participation
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From Native Americans to the LGBTQ community, activists are trying to make sure all groups are counted in the 2020 census.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As the census continues to reach out, some feel they're still being left out

"If you're not counted, then you're invisible," says Drian Juarez from Trans Can Work, which works on inclusion and transgender issues. She says the census is collecting information on same-sex partners but it's still not enough.

"We have a small window of time in which to be included. And so really after this census, we really have to make sure that we're a part of the 2030 census, but for this one, you know we're already not being counted," says Juarez.

Census numbers show across the state the self response rate is at 67.9%.

But certain groups, such as Asian American households where there might be less English language proficiency, the number is much lower.

"We have resources in 19 different Asian languages and seven Pacific Islander languages so that our community members can get information about the census," says June Lim from Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

The Native American community is also very hard to count. Those trying to reach out say over the years they have been spread out across the state and they have a mistrust of government.

Jesus Fraire from California Native Vote Project says "As part of our research we found that members of the community most likely prefer to have information being received by Native American community based organizations or from their own tribal governments as opposed to federal or state governments."

And advocates say a number of people are still concerned about how the government will use the data. Officials stress it's all protected by federal law and not shared with other agencies.